One of the cleverest ideas for a new restaurant and champagne bar is MCC Franschhoek, and it is appropriate that its opening co-incided with the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival this weekend. MCC Franschhoek is a showcase of 34 Franschhoek sparkling wines of 14 Franschhoek producers.
The brainchild of Philip and Christy Harrison, previously managing De Huguenot Estate, MCC Franschhoek allowed the couple to work with a beverage they love best. Christy told me that Philip loves cooking, having started to do so in Majorca, after studying accountancy. Both Philip and Christie owned a Weatherspoons outlet in Heathrow, but moved back to Cape Town thirteen years ago, Philip managing The Galley in Fish Hoek. They moved to the design of wedding stationery, and it is Christy who designed the stylish logo for MCC Franschhoek. Due to the closure of the De Huguenot restaurant and Harry Q Bar at De Huguenot Estate (to be run as a wedding and event venue only in future), Philip and Christie took part of their share of the venture in kind, and therefore they have the stylish silver-upholstered chairs, black bar chairs and tables, and couches from De Huguenot restaurant, which are spread out in the courtyard of the Village Square. Each table has the MCC range and price list, and a perspex salt and pepper grinder stand. Quality material serviettes and Fortis cutlery are stylish.
Alleé Bleue (Brut Rosé), Boschendal (MCC Le Grande Pavillion Brut Rosé, MCC Grande Cuvée Brut), Cape Chamonix (MCC Blanc de Blancs), Colmant (Brut Reserve, Brut Rosé, Brut Chardonnay), Dieu Donné (Maingard Brut, Rose MCC), Franschhoek Pass Winery (Morena Brut, Brut Rosé, Cuvée Catherine, Malabar Shiraz), Graham Beck (Brut, Brut Rosé NV and 2008, Bliss Demi Sec, Brut Blanc de Blancs, Zero), GM & Ahrens (Cap Classique), Hauté Cabriere (Pierre Jourdan Brut, Cuvée Belle Rose, Brut Sauvage, Blanc de Blancs, Cuvée Reserve), La Motte, Môreson (Miss Molly, Solitaire, Gala, Pink, One), My Wyn, Stony Brook (The Lyle), and Topiary (Blanc de Blancs Brut) sparkling wines are sold by the bottle, while a select number of bubbly brands can be bought by the glass, advertised on a blackboard. Prices start at R110 for Miss Molly, peaking at R650 for the GM & Ahrens. Surprisingly (given its name), a number of wines are offered too, and many are non-Franschhoek. Protea Sauvignon Blanc, Glenwood Sauvignon Blanc, Haute Cabrière Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, Beyerskloof Pinotage Rosé, Glenwood Shiraz Merlot blend, Graham Beck Game Reserve, and Guardian Peak Shiraz are all available by the glass, reasonably priced in a range from R20 – R35.
MCC Franschhoek opens from 8h00, and serves well-priced breakfasts, one paying per item (e.g. 2 eggs, bacon and toast costs R47); muesli, yoghurt and berry coulis, and a croissant with cheese and preserves cost R20 each. There is no breakfast cut-off time. The ‘Bites’ menu has a mix of salads (R45 – R65), sundowner platters (R50 – R75, and includes oysters, cheese, cold meats, and biltong), main courses, and desserts (R35 – R45), which can be ordered throughout the day. I ordered a perfectly prepared Franschhoek salmon trout served with boiled potatoes, and a crispy fresh asparagus salad (R75). Other main course options are sirloin steak and prawns in a beer batter, also costing R75. One can also order beef lasagne, mussels, an open chicken Satay burger, and two tarts. The menu will be updated and amended regularly.
I was impressed with the scale of the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival in showcasing the leading bubbly brands for sale in this country. It is held at the Huguenot Monument, which attracted 2000 bubbly-lovers yesterday, and more are expected today between 12h00 – 17h00. Eight champagne brands (Billecart Salmon, Champagne Guy Charbaut, Claude Beaufort, Follet-Ramillon Brut Tradition, Piper Heidsieck, Thierry Lesne, Tribaut Brut Tradition, and Veuve Clicquot) presented their precious bubbles, as did 37 local sparkling wine producers. Staff representing the local brands Allée Bleue, Avondale, Bon Courage (in beautiful Carrol Boyes coolers), Boschendal, Bramon, Chabivin, Colmant, De Wetshof, Dieu Donné, Domaine Des Dieux, Francois la Garde, Genevieve MCC, The House of GM & Ahrens, Graham Beck, Groote Post, JC le Roux, Krone, Laborie, La Motte, Nicolas Feuillate Champagne for Woolworths, Morena, Môreson, My Wyn, Namaqua Wines (Guinevere very deep pink, with 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, all 3000 bottles exported), Pierre Jourdan, Pongracz, Quoin Rock, Rickety Bridge (new 2010 release, 50% each Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with only 3500 numbered bottles produced from Franschhoek grapes), Ross Gower, Saltare, Silverthorn, Simonsig, Steenberg, Sterhuis, Villiera, Weltevrede and Woolworths Wines all looked chic in their black and white outfits, the dress code of the Festival, which most attendees honoured too. There were surprisingly few Franschhoek restaurants represented (Le Quartier Français, Mont Rochelle Country Kitchen, Haute Cabrière, Roca Restaurant, and the Salmon Bar), and the food was generally of a disappointing quality, given the theme of the Festival. An exception was the sushi, salmon and other canapé platters made by new Le Franschhoek Hotel chef Oliver Cattermole.
MCC Franschhoek, 3 Village Square, 53 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek. Tel 083 772 9449/083 391 3869. No website. Twitter: @MCCFranschhoek Wednesday – Monday, 8h00 – until late, weather dependent.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
We enjoyed a languid late lunch there on Saturday – the prawns and sirloin were to die for! Tried a glass or two of bubbly before hitting the road and can say that the Morena Cuvee Catherine truely hit the spot. We loved the relaxed atmosphere in the open courtyard – what a wonderful idea.
hard to believe that they have just opened!
Tack for your feedback Arne. I am sure Philip and Christy will be thrilled. I loved my salmon (without the bubbly) there yesterday.
I can’t wait to try it out. Imagine to sit and go through my favourite bubblies glass by glass. I’ll be sure to book accommodation for the night!
Are you Rikke from Plett? Would love to see you again.
Nope, I’m Rikke from Plumstead. I did spend one glorious week in Plett a few years ago, but that was about it.
My wife and I ate at this restaurant on easter Monday. The place had a great,open & friendly atmosphere initially. The service took a while. Aprox 40 min from sit down to plates hitting the table. So waiting this long we expected our lamb & mint & chicken stay burgers to be great… they were in a word terrible… there was so much diced onion in the lamb and chicken patties, I’m still tasting it 4 hrs later. The buns seemed like they from the local pick n pay bakery cheap and not good. Besides the onion the meat seemed of the cheap variety. The “satay” sauce tasted as if was spooned from a black cat jar…….. all in all very unhappy and it just left a bad taste in the mouth. My unhappy opinion.
Thank you for sharing your feedback.
That does not sound good. I will ask the owner Phillip to respond.
I am sorry that your visit to MCC Franschhoek was a disappointment. We were very busy on Easter Monday, so a 40 minute wait from sitting to receiving your food is not unreasonable on a public holiday. The fact that you did not enjoy the food is a concern. my lamb burgers are our most popular dish and I have many compliments and returning customers for them, so I am sorry it was not to your taste. Likewise the chicken and coriander burger has been wll received by our guets. We use fresh leg of lamb, minced and fresh chicken breasts for the 2 burgers, so your comment about the meat seeming of the cheap variety is strange. I am sorry there was too much onion for your palate. I agree the buns could be better and I will address this issue without delay, thank you. The satay source does contain peanut butter, as well as coconut milk, fresh chilli, treacle sugar and soy.